‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls” delivers compelling story

Parker Otto

Like many of Steven Spielberg’s films, the Sept. 21 release “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” proves to be visually stunning, imaginative and filled with memorable characters.

The film follows an orphan named Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro, who is sent to live with his eccentric uncle, Jonathan, played by Jack Black.

Jonathan is revealed to be a warlock who decides to apprentice Lewis with his neighbor Florence, played by Cate Blanchett. The trio’s magical abilities are tested when evil sorcerer Issac Izzard, played by Kyle MacLachlan, tries to end the world with the titular clock in order to prevent mankind’s atrocities.

The film is a visual spectacle; the house’s antique design includes intricate stained-glass windows and clocks by the score, and the film combines practical effects and computer-generated imagery.

Vaccaro is believable in this film, particularly when he is introduced. The horrible effect the loss of his parents has on him is clearly shown, and he immediately becomes sympathetic. Black knocks it out of the park with his funny and, at times, heartfelt line executions.

As a character, Izzard is pretty much dead on arrival. In the literal sense, he’s a zombie, but MacLachlan gives a lively performance through the makeup and prosthetics. His wife Selena, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry, is also enjoyable and very creative in her ability to disguise.

The film also gives us a version of magic that is rarely depicted in film, the idea that magic can come from any person rather than having to be born with a magic gene. From wearing Aviator goggles to using a Magic 8 Ball, Lewis captures the spirit of a child of the 1950s using magic.

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is a wonderful film guaranteed to entertain both the young and young at heart. With great leads, a creative premise and a meticulous attention to detail looking style, this is the perfect film to see at a fall trip to the theater.